Simon Sinek performed the third most viewed Ted Talk in the world. The basis for his talk was his book called “Start With Why”. In a nutshell, the book says that humans are not moved to change their behavior through logic but, rather, through emotion.

The brain consists of two main parts; the logical part of our brain and the emotional side of our brain. While we can logically understand new information, we typically only change our actions when we are using the emotional side.

This is why storytelling, images and videos are so powerful. This is also why rituals, metaphors, and mantras seem to be woven into the fabric of every great team, business, and organization. These tools speak directly to that portion of our brain which control emotion and decision making. This is why we step into a new home, college campus, or office space and “feel” like it is a good fit. This is also why we can coach someone who understands something but refuses to perform it.

So what does this mean for coaching and communicating with our youth?

  1. We should always start with why. Purpose speaks to belonging and belonging is emotional.
  2. The knowledge we tell our athletes is far less significant than the manner in which we deliver it. The great coaches spend as much time and energy on learning new knowledge as they do on how to more effectively communicate it.
  3. We should constantly use analogies – take something we want to teach and tell the story using something they know.

Only once our young athletes are open to an idea might they change their behavior. There is a difference between belief and faith. Belief suggests that our students understand, faith suggests that our students will try. If we want our young athletes to have faith in what we are teaching, we must start with why.

Ryan Klipstein